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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1997 Sep;63(9):3399-404.

Metabolic responses of pyruvate decarboxylase-negative Saccharomyces cerevisiae to glucose excess.

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Department of Microbiology and Enzymology, Kluyver Laboratory of Biotechnology, Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands.


In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, oxidation of pyruvate to acetyl coenzyme A can occur via two routes. In pyruvate decarboxylase-negative (Pdc-) mutants, the pyruvate dehydrogenase complex is the sole functional link between glycolysis and the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle. Such mutants therefore provide a useful experimental system with which to study regulation of the pyruvate dehydrogenase complex. In this study, a possible in vivo inactivation of the pyruvate dehydrogenase complex was investigated. When respiring, carbon-limited chemostat cultures of wild-type S. cerevisiae were pulsed with excess glucose, an immediate onset of respiro-fermentative metabolism occurred, accompanied by a strong increase of the glycolytic flux. When the same experiment was performed with an isogenic Pdc- mutant, only a small increase of the glycolytic flux was observed and pyruvate was the only major metabolite excreted. This finding supports the hypothesis that reoxidation of cytosolic NADH via pyruvate decarboxylase and alcohol dehydrogenase is a prerequisite for high glycolytic fluxes in S. cerevisiae. In Pdc- cultures, the specific rate of oxygen consumption increased by ca. 40% after a glucose pulse. Calculations showed that pyruvate excretion by the mutant was not due to a decrease of the pyruvate flux into the TCA cycle. We therefore conclude that rapid inactivation of the pyruvate dehydrogenase complex (e.g., by phosphorylation of its E1 alpha subunit, a mechanism demonstrated in many higher organisms) is not a relevant mechanism in the response of respiring S. cerevisiae cells to excess glucose. Consistently, pyruvate dehydrogenase activities in cell extracts did not exhibit a strong decrease after a glucose pulse.

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